19 December 2011

Monday's Musing

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." - Napoleon Bonaparte

I love this quote. It has set me free.

Allow me to explain.... I was raised mainly by my grandmother, who took everything - and I mean everything - personally. I always knew I didn't want to end up that way - for so many reasons!

When I first heard the above quote, I thought only of the word incompetence as it is defined: "the inability to perform; lack of competence; ineptitude." Then I realized it could mean so much more. What if I expanded the meaning in my own thoughts to include honest mistakes, unknowing errors, people merely having their own agendas or not thinking of anything but themselves when they did something that affected me or my family?

So...that person who cuts people off on the freeway? Not personal at all; just trying to get to where they're going without thought of anything else. The insurance company person who doesn't want to deal with a claim? Not personal; just wanting to get home or to lunch, or tired and burned out. The company that screws up an order over and over and over again? Nothing to take personally. The friend who doesn't ever call back? Overwhelmed by things in her own life. All of the little annoyances and needless hurts in daily life? Released. Gone. Part of the workings of many lives that meet and intertwine, and then go their own ways.

Which got me thinking again, of course. :) This time about how much we affect each other in our daily lives without ever meaning to. Now I try even harder to think about and live by the Golden Rule. Because who among us wouldn't feel buoyed by the smile of a stranger or a little politeness where it isn't necessarily expected? Especially this time of year! So, today when I go out to do errands among the throngs of other holiday shoppers, I will be remembering to try a few extra smiles, even when I am cranky and annoyed, and feel that a well-placed elbow would solve a lot of my problems. And I will be marveling again and again at my younger son, The Bear - our little goodwill ambassador - who somehow seems to know all this stuff innately, whereas I have always struggled with it.

Happy holidays everyone!



Blogger Jeanne said...

I like this post a lot. Thank you!

And now I will forgive and forget the first person I had contact with this morning. The young lady that saw me behind her, got on the elevator, pushed the floor button where she was going and took off, when I was 20 feet away. I'm sure she was just really excited to get to work on a Monday morning. By the way, I did thank her and wished her a happy day ;-)

Happy Winter Solstice week Romi

♥ ♥ ♥

10:47 AM  
Blogger sandi said...

This is a wonderful post, Romi. I, too, often remind myself that not everything is about me. It seems a waste of energy to take things personally, particularly when the source is someone who doesn't know me.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Carol Steel said...

This quote is great and your extrapolations of examples and ways to use it are brilliant. Thank you for this moment of added perspective in all the pre-Christmas frenzy. Bless you!

11:04 AM  
Blogger Anita Figueras said...

Thank you so much for this post, Romi. I needed to read it today. Your examples are spot on.

Your son doesn't struggle as much as you do BECAUSE you struggle, and work hard to model a healthier behavior than what you were taught.

Onward to the rest of the week, and the feast that awaits!

1:43 PM  
Anonymous dana said...

a baby doesn't arrive in a family by accident .

7:07 PM  
Blogger Oneday Designs said...

How true and thank you for sharing those thoughts and making us all stop and think a little.

4:34 AM  
Anonymous Judy W said...

I have been trying to live this way myself, and I really appreciate the way you expressed your thoughts. Thanks!

6:24 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

I look forward to the Monday posts...and always learn from them and enjoy them!

6:55 AM  
Blogger Bizzy B said...

I'm printing out this post as it gives me so much to think about. I'm always in a hurry & am probably the one to do unintentional injury to someone. I'm not short of time. I need to slow down.

I've been feeling badly all day as I said something unnecessary this morning while out shopping. I don't think I hurt someones feelings but I didn't add any joy to their day (nor to mine). Thanks much for this post.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

This post is why I find it so worthwhile to plow through all the posts I miss when I go out of town. There are jewels of rare value I would miss if I decided the list was too long to tackle! Thank-you.

9:14 PM  
Blogger janna said...

That's basically the same adage that I've heard called Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.. And I have that on a virtual sticky note on my computer desktop at work!

4:01 PM  

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